Cumberland Square Eight (L*) – England & Scotland

*a Living dance is a 1st Generation dance that is still performed in the country of origin (or immigrant communities) as part of a social event like a wedding where others can participate (not for an audience) by people who learned the dance informally (from friends and relatives by observation and imitation, not in a classroom situation). For more information, click here and here.

About Cumberland

Wikipedia: The first record of the term ‘Cumberland’ appears in AD 945, when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the area was ceded to Malcolm I, king of Alba (Scotland), by King Edmund I of England. As with ‘Cymru’, the native Welsh name for Wales, the names ‘Cumberland’ and ‘Cumbria’ are derived from kombroges in Common Brittonic, which originally meant “compatriots”.

Cumberland County in Red

The Dance

A popular dance in North England and Scotland. How old is it? Nobody knows, but this article on Cumberland Square Eight says ” people started researching what people were actually dancing in the villages…. Many of these were quadrilles and other old dances which had become popular in particular areas and evolved into local dances; that may have been the origin of this dance….This seems to be one of the dances that has remained unchanged for the last 100 years, The description in the Community Dance Manual is exactly the same, and that is exactly how I first learnt it in the 1960s, and still call it today.”

Caption: Beautiful wedding in a lovely barn. The ceilidh band is Also Known As Barn Dance and Ceilidh Band, the caller is Will Hall. The tunes are ‘My love she is but a lassy’ and ‘Cock of the North’. Oct 2, 2011.
Caption: Apr 11, 2011 This is the Cumberland Square Eight with the “Basket” done properly. From a friend’s wedding reception in the Lake District.
Caption: Barn dance for a wedding in Berkshire. The band are Also Known As … barn dance and ceilidh band.
Caption: Wirral-based ceilidh band Two Left Feet with caller Brendan Morrison play for the dance The Cumberland Square Eight. The two tunes are: My love she’s but a Lassie yet and The Athol Highlanders. Recorded 2nd July 2016 Bromborough Civic Hall, Wirral.
Caption: Scottish Cèilidh Dancing. Gergel School. Burns’ Night 2013.
Caption: Dufftown Dance Club – 3/10/15 Music from Robert Whitehead and his band
Most American dancers keep all feet on the ground during the third ‘basket’ figure. Caption: The Contra Culture weekend at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Rutledge, MO. Bob Green is calling to the music of the Two Cents String Band. 2012.

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